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9 Best Springs to Visit in Florida in the Summertime

a body of water

Summer is for spending time with family and friends. It’s for the beach, the ocean, the rivers, and the forests, for exploring the outdoors, and for reconnecting to nature. 

The Sunshine State offers all of this and more. Some of the best places to visit in Florida are the many beautiful springs that can be enjoyed in a clear-bottom kayak. So, if going on a kayak adventure is on your to-do list this summer, plan ahead by learning more about the 9 best springs to visit in Florida!

1. Rock Springs

One of the most picturesque places you can visit in Florida, Rock Springs is a crystal-clear blue water destination you won’t want to miss. This 14,000-acre state park is located about 30 miles north of Orlando in Apopka and contains a number of Indian mounds, pine Flatwoods, swamps, and artesian springs, as well as a number of creeks and rivers. 

The perfect place for kayaking and canoeing, put this destination on top of your list as it is one of the very best springs to visit in Florida.

2. Rainbow Springs

Get ready to be amazed by a kaleidoscope of blues in Rainbow Springs State Park. Formerly known as Blue Spring, Rainbow Springs is located in Marion County, within Dunnellon. It’s the fourth-largest spring formation in the Sunshine State and produces over 490 million gallons of water daily. 

Surrounded by untouched nature, this isn’t just one of the best springs to kayak in Florida but also a charming place to have a picnic with family and friends on the lawn, take a hike, see waterfalls or simply go for a swim in its magical waters.

3. Silver Springs

Also located in Marion County, Silver Springs State Park comprises a group of artesian springs. Known as one of the state’s first tourist attractions, this 242-acre complex drew visitors even before the U.S. Civil War.

 Exploring the springs in a clear-bottom kayak allows you to experience a lush park forest surrounded by sandhills that can be accessed by trails. After your kayak adventure, you can go see the Silver River Museum or the Cracker Village, a really cool replica of a 19th-century pioneer settlement.

4. Three Sisters Springs

Three Sisters Springs is widely considered one of the best springs to visit in Florida. Located on the Crystal River, in Citrus County, these springs contain numerous sand boils and vents. Since the land surrounding the springs is privately owned property, the only way to enter is by kayak, canoe, or swimming. 

Three Sister Springs is also home to many manatees that you can either admire from your glass-bottom kayak or get to know up-close and personal while snorkeling – a true highlight when kayaking in Florida.

5. The Chaz

The Chassahowitzka River, better known as The Chaz, is a 5-mile-long spring-fed river located in southwestern Citrus County. Home to hundreds of species of birds including the bald eagle, and a common refuge for the West Indian manatee, The Chaz offers many creeks, canals, and lagoons to explore. Insider tip: go paddle to “The Crack,” a secluded sulfur spring that is said to be good for your skin and can only be accessed on a kayak. 

6. Itchetucknee

Spend a relaxing day at one of the best springs to visit in Florida, the pristine Ichetucknee River. This 6-mile-long water stream has eight beautiful crystal-clear springs and is a wildlife sanctuary where many otters, beavers, softshell turtles, wild turkeys, wood ducks, and limpkins live. 

The best place to kayak at the Itchetucknee is the state park’s upper portion, a National Natural Landmark, where you can find the most pristine spring run in the state.

7. Blue Springs in Deland

Another popular tourist destination is the Blue Spring State Park, located west of Orange City. A great place for Florida outdoor adventures, the state park offers kayaking, camping, hiking, canoeing, fishing, wildlife watching, snorkeling, and scuba diving. 

Blue Spring State Park holds one of the largest winter gathering sites for manatees in Florida. While in or on the water, expect to see hundreds of manatees enjoying the constant 72-degree spring water. Go swim with these gentle giants, or observe them from the safety of your kayak. 

8. Weeki Wachee

Touted as an enchanted spring where you can see live mermaids, the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is a family destination that has been entertaining guests since 1947. It offers boat tours, paddling, picnicking, swimming, Splish n’ Splash water slides at Buccaneer Bay, and more. While out on a kayak, you can expect to see a number of different animals, including manatees, fish, birds, deer, raccoons, herons, turtles, otters, and more.

9. Merritt’s Mill Pond

We like to consider this one our biggest ‘hidden gem’! Merritt’s Mill is located about 40 minutes west of Tallahassee, Florida and is one of Florida’s most underrated spring runs. This spring boasts amazing swimming holes, unique caves, and limestone cliffs that line the pristine waterway. Visually this spring is also one of the most unique on our list as you can weave your way through towering cypress trees all while having amazing underwater views as you paddle. If you’re looking to try something new, Merritt’s Mill is highly recommended!

The Best Way to Spend Your Summer

Enjoy this summer to the fullest by ditching your gadgets, taking a social media break, and going back to the basics: spending time with people dear to you in nature. Here, you can find peace, quiet, and happiness. 

In fact, nature has been proven to have positive effects on your mental and physical wellbeing. Spending time in outdoors has cognitive benefits, helps with emotional regulation, encourages you to exercise to lower your BMI, and improves memory functions. 

So, pack your swimsuit, goggles, and sunscreen and come to the Sunshine State to go kayaking, swim with manatees, and explore the best springs to visit in Florida.